News & Analysis as of

Draft Appropriations Bill Seeks to De-Fund Various Regulatory Efforts

A draft House appropriations bill to fund various federal agencies, including the Department of Labor, for Fiscal Year 2016 includes several provisions that would effectively halt a number of controversial regulatory efforts....more

ERISA Fiduciary Duties for Plan Investments

Many employers offer 401(k) and other retirement plans for their employees as part of the cost of doing business. Too often, retirement plans are established and operated without much thought given to the numerous legal...more

Supreme Court Rules that Plan Fiduciaries Owe a Fiduciary Duty to Periodically Review Plan Investments

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Tibble v. Edison International held that plan fiduciaries owe an ongoing duty to review plan investments periodically to ensure compliance with their obligations under the...more

Out-of-Network, Out of Luck? A Growing Body of Caselaw Addressing Claims by Out-of-Network Providers Seeking Full Reimbursement...

It’s become a common scenario for medical providers: a provider treats a patient covered by employer-provided health insurance for which the provider is out-of-network, receives an assignment of benefits from the patient and...more

Supreme Court: ERISA Fiduciaries Have Ongoing Duty to Monitor Investments - Selection of Plan Investment Alternative Is Not a...

In Tibble v. Edison International, 13-550 (U.S. May 18, 2015), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires ERISA plan fiduciaries to monitor plan investments for...more

Are Top Hat Plans Entitled to a Discretionary Standard of Review?

Many years ago the Supreme Court decided that qualified retirement plans that gave their fiduciaries discretion to determine plan benefits were entitled to have their decisions, reviewed by a court under a generous “abuse of...more

Internet Posting of SPD is Insufficient

Employers know that they must prepare and distribute a summary plan description (SPD) for their ERISA benefit plans, including retirement benefits, health insurance, life insurance and disability insurance. Because of the...more

Supreme Court: 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries Have An Ongoing Duty To Monitor

In April 2013 I reported on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Tibble v. Edison International which involved an alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the Edison 401(k) Savings Plan committee selecting six retail...more

Employee Benefits Developments May 2015

Several years ago, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a regulation that would have redefined the term “fiduciary.” The proposed regulation received a great deal of criticism, prompting the DOL to withdraw its proposal. In...more

Employee Benefits Developments - April 2015

Health Insurance Company’s HIPAA Breach Affects Millions. At the end of January, a national BlueCross BlueShield affiliate, Anthem, Inc., discovered that its information technology systems were hacked. The information...more

Employee Benefits Developments - March 2015

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued Notice 2015-16, intending to initiate and inform the process of developing regulatory guidance regarding the excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health coverage. The...more

Employee Benefits Developments - February 2015

ERISA § 4062(e) Liability Enforcement Returns--Applicable to Defined Benefit Plans and Succession of Operations at Facility. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) § 4062(e) originally imposed liability...more

Employee Benefits Developments - January 2015

IRS Publishes FAQs Regarding Rollovers of After-Tax Contributions. In the December 2014 issue of Employee Benefits Developments, we reported on IRS Notice 2014-54, which allows participants to direct and allocate after-tax...more

Employee Benefits Developments - November 2014

Health Care Cost Consideration May Support Age Discrimination Claim. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned a lower court’s summary judgment ruling against a plaintiff’s age discrimination...more

Considerations for Employee Benefit Programs That Benefit Employers and Employees

Employers must compete in the marketplace for talented employees at every level—both in recruitment and retention. It is thus in employers’ best interests to provide employee benefit plans that are attractive to employees and...more

Reasonable Fee Issues for Fiduciaries on the Horizon

The Supreme Court is poised to address whether fiduciaries' decisions—especially in using fee sharing arrangements—are subject to deference when challenged. The Eighth and Ninth Circuit courts recently decided these issues,...more

ERISA Applied to Deferred Compensation Plan

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found in Tolbert v. RBC Capital Markets that a nonqualified deferred compensation plan was an "employee pension benefit plan" under the Employee Retirement Income...more

How Good the Advisor is often based on how well they play with other plan providers

What makes a good retirement plan financial advisor? Well it takes an attention to detail, an understanding of what the role to entails, and a dedication to the client. In addition, what I find is the way a good financial...more

Update For Retirement Plans Post-Windsor

Now that some of the dust has settled on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, employers who haven’t done so already should take immediate steps to review their retirement plan documents and administrative...more

Combination Bonus and Deferral Plan Subject to ERISA

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a deferred compensation plan through which key employees received annual bonuses and were able to defer both bonuses and other income was an “employee pension benefit plan”...more

PBGC Coverage May No Longer Apply to Puerto Rico-Only Qualified Retirement Plans

Employers that sponsor defined benefit qualified retirement plans benefiting only Puerto Rico employees should be aware that Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) coverage may no longer apply. Last year, the PBGC...more

U.S. Supreme Court Abolishes the Presumption of Prudence in ERISA Stock Drop Cases

A recurring scenario in ERISA litigation involves claims against fiduciaries of 401(k) retirement plans who are alleged to have breached their fiduciary duty by failing to discontinue investment in employer stock following a...more

What's New Under the Defense of Marriage Act?

A major reason that employee benefits, such as employer- provided healthcare and retirement plans, exist is that they provide a tax-advantaged way for an employer to provide additional compensation to an employee, her spouse,...more

Discriminatory Defined Benefit Plans: Finding Retirement Gold in the Least Likely of Places

We live in politically charged times. Congress seems unable to reach a consensus on anything, including where to have the annual congressional Christmas ball! Years of political crossfire over the Affordable Care Act have...more

ERISA Fiduciary Guidance - Making a "Watch List" Work

For most professionals who sit on 401(k) or 403(b) plan administrative or investment committees, there is a fair amount of routine. The committee probably adopted an investment policy that dates back to the time the plan’s...more

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